Well that was just what the doctor ordered: high tempo, crisp passing, fine combination football and the stars of the show shining at their brightest! Not much time, but here are my eight positives of the game.
- Ozil and Sanchez’s energy and creativity were too much for Zagreb: three goals and one assist between them is a very good return for all the hard work. Seeing Ozil score almost twice with his head tells us a lot as well. He is making more runs into the box now to be at the end of a chance rather than only creating them, and that is just what we need currently, as we have been lacking goals from central midfield.
- Nacho was awesome, both in defence and in attack. A great assist for Sanchez’s first goal, but he could have had more. What a great wing-back we have in Monreal.
- Giroud worked hard to create space and chances for others. He did not score this time round, but he carries so much goal-threat that defenders have to stay with him, and this opened them up for sharp-shooter, Alexis and smooth operator, Ozil.
- The Flam-Car DM pivot worked well tonight: they bossed the midfield defensively and made good contributions offensively. Santi offered a lot creativity and pushed the team on from the back: he had a really good game.
- Campbell had a great assist and had some good spells, especially at the start of the game. Like the Ox, he tends to drift in and out of the game – the very opposite of the continuously driven Alexis – but he produced the goods when it mattered.
- Bellerin had great drive once again and as a result we could use the whole width of the pitch. We were really strong from the wings today and this is due to the creativity, drive and speed of the full backs and our ‘midwingers’ Alexis and Campbell.
- A clean sheet was very welcome, even though our defending was not always top notch. Something to build on now, and I hope Arsene will play the same back four and Cech against Norwich.
- The return of Ramsey was very welcome. He clearly looked rusty but coming on with no pressure and just being able to ease himself back into the first team will have done him good. In hindsight, I am glad Wenger did not start him.
Man of the match was SanOzil: both Sanchez and Ozil were magnificent and it would be wrong to choose between them on tonight’s performances.
Cech: 8 | Solid close save at the end of the game/ calm and in control.
Bellerin: 7.5 | Very driven going forward, one or two defensive mishaps
BFG: 7 | Calm and controlled, kept it simple and effective
Koz: 7.5 | Full of drive and healthy aggression – best game in a while
Nacho: 8.5 | Great runs and balls into the box – solid at the back too
Flam: 7.5 | Solid and confident – allowed others to play and good interceptions when we lost the ball
Cazorla: 8 | Good partnership with Flamini and a creative force all over the pitch
Ozil: 9 | Great on the pitch leadership and he made the team dance with his fine runs, fabulous control of the ball and passes – scored the all-important first goal
Alexis: 9 | Two goals and a fine assist – never gave up fighting and his link up play with Ozil was a joy to watch
Giroud: 7.5 | No goals or assist but did a lot of dirty work today to create space and opportunities for others
Campbell: 7.5 | Periods of great drive and creativity in which he takes the game to the opponent – need to become more consistent, but fine, fine through-ball for Sanchez’s second goal